No. 16 Michigan State men’s soccer (0-1-2) was defeated by the undefeated No. 13 Washington Huskies (3-0-0), receiving their first loss of the season in a 1-0 bout Friday night. The match was MSU’s first top-20 matchup of the year, and despite Spartan goalkeeper Hunter Morse’s seven saves, the Spartans couldn’t generate enough offense to put away the Huskies.
Head Coach Damon Rensing thought the loss came in a high level college soccer game. The Spartans created opportunities and showed up in the second half, but didn’t flip the switch soon enough to pull out a win.
“I thought the second half we flipped the switch and we really went at them and played the way we needed to play in the first half. We were just unfortunate to not get a goal. I thought we created opportunities, but again it was a pretty high level college soccer game with a lot of pace,” Rensing said, “I was okay with the performance in the second half. If we can replicate that for ninety minutes, I think we can be alright moving forward.”
For 43 minutes in the first half, the score remained 0-0. MSU’s goal keeper Hunter Morse added three saves to his season total, but was unable to stop a shot late in the period from the Huskies’ Lucas Meek. The score would put Washington up 1-0.
Through the first period MSU was unable to get many shots up. Washington outnumbered the Spartans six shots to two, and four shots on goal to MSU’s zero. Before Washington’s Meek was able to get the ball in the net, they were able to put two others shots past MSU’s Morse, but were discounted due to two offsides calls.
Although the Spartan offense seemed absent through the first 45 minutes, they started to get going in the second half managing to get off seven shots, three of which were on goal.
MSU’s defense continued to hold their ground against the higher ranked Washington’s offense, keeping them in it until the last second. Even after a strong second half, the Huskies would end up continuing their shutout streak and take down the Spartans, capitalizing on their goal in the last two minutes before the first half came to an end.
Following the loss Coach Rensing expressed to his players that playing to their potential for the full 90 minutes, and self evaluation will be keys for the team moving forward and against Cornell on Sunday.
“This is a ninety minute game, not a forty five minute game," Rensing said.
"We played well in the second half. I think for me what I talk about too is players need to self evaluate, not point fingers after a tough loss. Look at yourself and say 'what can I do better to get ready for Sunday and a good Cornell team."
After this loss, MSU falls to 0-1-2 on the season, and look to bounce back with their first win this Sunday, against a 0-1-0 Cornell team.